Jun
27
2019 Volvo XC60 Plug-in Hybrid

2019 Volvo XC60 T8 E-AWD R-Design in Crystal White Metallic (a $645 option)

Quick Spin

2019 Volvo XC60 T8 E-AWD R-Design

Class: Premium Compact Crossover

Miles Driven: 321

Fuel Used: 9.1 gallons

CG Report Card
Room and ComfortB+
Power and PerformanceB+
Fit and FinishA-
Fuel EconomyB+
ValueC
Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.
Big & Tall Comfort
Big GuyA-
Tall GuyA-
Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.
Drivetrain
Engine Specs400-hp 2.0L
Engine Type4-cyl turbocharged
and supercharged
plug-in hybrid
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Drive WheelsAWD

Real-world fuel economy: 35.3 mpg

Driving mix: 60% city, 40% highway

EPA-estimated fuel economy: 58 MPGe/26 mpg (city/highway combined)

Fuel type: Premium gasoline recommended

Base price: $52,900 (not including $995 destination charge)

Options: R-Design package ($6850), Advance Package ($2500), heated rear seats with heated steering wheel ($750), metallic paint ($645), Bowers and Wilkins audio system ($3200), Four-C air suspension ($1800)

Price as tested: $69,640

 

Quick Hits

The great: Available safety features; R-Design trim package brings especially upscale interior materials

The good: Strong acceleration; fuel-economy potential and eco versatility of plug-in hybrid powertrain

The not so good: Complicated touchscreen controls; optional equipment quickly drives up the bottom-line price; not quite as nimble or athletic-feeling as some performance-focused class rivals

More XC60 price and availability information

 

CG Says:

If the first thing that pops into your head when you think “hybrid” is an eco-uber-alles commuter-mobile with lackluster acceleration, then you haven’t been perusing the offerings among premium-brand vehicles lately. Many of the hybrid models offered by most luxury makes, be they of the plug-in or “regular” variety, are focused on performance as much as fuel economy.

Quick Spin: 2019 Volvo XC60 Plug-in Hybrid

The XC60’s R-Design package adds some unique trim inside and out, including specific 19-inch alloy wheels. Standard features include a hands-free power liftgate and a panoramic sunroof with power sunshade.

A case in point is Volvo’s lineup of plug-in hybrids. Available in the XC60 and XC90 SUVs and the S60/V60 and S90/V90 sedans and wagons, the Volvo T8 engine is one of the most muscular 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engines you’ll find. It’s turbocharged AND supercharged, and paired with an electric motor to make a total of 400 horsepower and 472 pound-feet of torque. That’s more than enough to move around any of the Volvos it’s installed in with authority.

Test Drive: 2018 Mini Cooper Countryman Plug-In Hybrid

Quick Spin: 2019 Volvo XC60 Plug-in Hybrid

The XC60 cabin’s upscale trim is a strong point. The console-mounted twist knob that starts and stops the engine takes some getting used to, but we especially liked the slick, easy-to-use nature of the classy Orrefors “Crystal Eye” shift lever.

After its ground-up redesign for 2018, the XC60 sees only minor changes to standard-equipment- and option-package content for 2019. We tested the top-line Inscription version of the XC60 T8 last year; check out that review for more details. This time, we sampled the sport-themed R-Design model.

Test Drive: 2018 Volvo XC60 T8 Inscription

Our Inscription test consisted of some longer-distance drives (in chilly weather) that netted us an average fuel-economy number of 26.3 mpg—right on par with the EPA estimate of 26 mpg in gasoline-only combined city/highway driving. Our R-Design test was comprised of shorter trips that allowed us to plug in the vehicle more frequently and thus take better advantage of the electric-motor assist. This helped bump up our average mpg to 35.3, an impressive showing for an all-wheel-drive compact luxury SUV with 400 horsepower on tap.

The R-Design is ostensibly the sportiest model in the XC60 lineup, but it’s essentially an appearance/luxury-equipment package with a couple safety features (namely a blind-spot monitor with lane-keep assist and rear cross-traffic alert) added in.  Despite plenty of upgrades—such as Park Assist Pilot, power folding rear seats and headrests, heated windshield-wiper blades with integrated washers, keyless entry, hands-free power tailgate, and auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors—there are no differences in the steering or suspension tuning between the R-Design and other XC60s. Despite some sportier trim that includes front sport seats with slightly beefier bolster and Nappa leather/Nubuck upholstery, the driving experience isn’t notably different from a Momentum or Inscription model.

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Quick Spin: 2019 Volvo XC60 Plug-in Hybrid

Volvo’s T8 plug-in hybrid powertrain is a turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that pairs with an electric motor, and it puts out a lot more power than you might expect: 400 horsepower and 472 pound-feet of torque.

We tested our XC60 R-Design shortly after sampling a 2019 BMW X3 M40i (a direct rival). Though the XC60 T8’s 400-hp rating easily tops the M40i’s 355 horsepower, the BMW felt much more athletic overall, with more communicative steering and a more nimble, planted attitude in fast corners. Note also that BMW will more than make up for the M40i’s horsepower shortcoming for 2020, when it launches the high-performance X3 M, which will offer 473 or 503 horsepower.

None of those X3s will match the XC60 T8’s fuel economy, however… particularly if you take full advantage of the plug-in hybrid system. And even if the XC60’s moves aren’t BMW-sharp, it still strikes a nice balance between capable handling and a smooth ride. The T8’s engine is rather vocal in fast acceleration, and its tone is a bit coarser and less pleasant than the powerplants in some class rivals. However, the hybrid system is nicely integrated, delivering a smooth—and copious—flow of power, especially in the driver-selectable “Power” mode. A non-linear feel when braking, due to the electric-motor regen, is the main tipoff of the powertrain’s gas/electric format.

The other downside is price; our XC60 T8 Inscription bottom-lined at a sobering $71,590, and this R-Design wasn’t far behind at $69,640. That’s over $4500 more than that nicely equipped BMW X3 M40i we tested, but still close to the going rate for an optioned-up European-brand luxury compact SUV with a high-horsepower powertrain. And for now at least, the XC60 T8 is kind of in a class of its own… there are other hybrids and plug-in hybrids in the premium compact SUV class (and more are reportedly on the way, including a BMW X3 plug-in hybrid), but none of the competition offers the same level of muscle with their hybrid models. If you’re looking for extra-robust acceleration along with fuel-sipping capabilities, an XC60 T8 is a compelling choice.

Should I Buy a Car or Crossover?

Quick Spin: 2019 Volvo XC60 Plug-in Hybrid

A driver’s-side front-fender charge port and a subtle T8 badge on the rear liftgate are the only external tip-offs that this XC60 is a hybrid model. The R-Design package and other options tack on a significant price premium, but an XC60 T8 offers impressive performance AND economy in the same package.

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2019 Volvo XC60 Plug-in Hybrid